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How “Love Is All About Sacrifice” Ruins Our Love Lives

How “Love Is All About Sacrifice” Ruins Our Love Lives

New relationships are entrancing and consuming in both the best and worst of ways. When I was younger I would dive into a new relationship giving it everything I had. My lover was my world and I would do anything for them. Our relationship became my number one priority and everything else just fell by the wayside. Overcome with the love bug, I didn’t mind spending all of my time and effort on my budding relationships.

In my very first relationship, I became completely enveloped in my new lover. Nothing else mattered. I had no problem going above and beyond for them in order to make them happy, because seeing them happy made me happy too. I thought that by devoting myself entirely, I was paving the way for a happy and long lasting relationship.

Love is blinding. I couldn’t see the inevitable even though it was right in front of my face.

I thought my efforts would be recognized without having to ask. But when it wasn’t reciprocated, I started to become resentful. I never expressed my expectations or my reasons for getting upset. My partner couldn’t understand what changed. A total lack of communication and one-sided effort destroyed what was once a beautiful thing. That’s when I realized that I had to be more vocal about what I wanted from my relationships.

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Making Your Partner Happy at the Expense of Your Own Happiness Worsens Your Relationship

Some people are just naturally nurturing, giving individuals. I give because I want my partner to be happy. My intentions are initially pure and I don’t expect much in return. But still, I do expect something.

Other people are naturally takers. They don’t mean to be, but they’re just inherently inconsiderate. It’s human instinct to be prone to laziness. If someone is offering to take care of you, you’re going to take them up on their offer. When your partner is thanklessly giving, you fall into the habit of receiving without realizing there is an issue with giving nothing back.

In an attempt to win over the taker, givers will try to give more, hoping that their partner will catch on and feel obliged to return the favor. Relationships take sacrifice. But that doesn’t mean sacrificing your own interests and preferences to make your partner happy. Eventually your lovers priorities will supersede your own and you’ll find that you have no say in the relationship. You may even find that you lose interest in the things you once cared about, losing touch with who you truly are—the person that your partner supposedly fell for in the first place.

Love Is a Two Sided Equation

Think of a relationship as an equation. It takes two people. If only one person is giving, the relationship is one sided.

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A one sided equation looks like this: 1+0=1

The giver is 1 while the receiver is 0. When you’re not receiving anything back, you’re in this alone.

Eventually the giver is going to get burned out. Drained of all of their resources, the one-sided relationship leaves them feeling exhausted and neglected. The taker, who is used to receiving all of the spoils may not realize that there is even an issue. This imbalance will cause toxicity in the relationship and ultimately ruin it.

A balanced relationship equation should look more like this: 1+1=2

TWO! There are two people. A healthy relationship takes both people’s effort. Two people who should be giving as well as receiving.

A healthy relationship is not always 1+1=2. If the giver starts to give more, they should also be given the same more to make the love relationship make sense. So it can be 2+2=4 or 3+3=6. As long as both people are giving each other the same and putting the same effort into the relationship, it’s a balanced one.

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Creating a Equal Relationship

Your wants and needs are just as important as your partners. Having an open dialogue about your expectations for a relationship will only strengthen your bond. Just as long as your partner reciprocates. When you both understand that you both deserve an equal amount of love and respect, your relationship will flourish into a healthy partnership.

After you have established what it is that you want and expect in return, share your thoughts with your partner in a calm and reasonable manner. Encourage them to give feedback to open a balanced dialogue. Tell them what you can and cannot expect, and ask them to tell you the same.

Relationships are not all about self-sacrifice. They’re about compromise. Which does involve a level of sacrifice, but on both sides. You will gain a better understanding of each other and establish balance in the relationship. This is how you maintain the even 1+1=2 ratio.

Although you want to make your partner happy, you need to make your happiness a priority as well. If you give and give and ask for nothing in return, it will cause a poisonous trend that will eventually kill your relationship.

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Communication is key. Always keep an open dialogue with your partner about what you both except from your relationship. At the end of a failed relationship, we always regret the things that we didn’t say. Forget regret and speak up as the issues arise. You can’t be afraid to communicate your concerns with your partner. If you can’t, the relationship isn’t going to work.

I learned a lot from my first relationship. Although it ended in heartbreak, I learned a very valuable lesson. I can’t be the only one who gives. And I can’t be afraid to tell my partner if I have an issue with something. It needs to be a group effort, otherwise I’m better off standing on my own.

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Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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